September 22, 2014

How to say “47” in Portguese

Quarenta e sete, which is pronounced, at least by me, “Qwarente set.”

I know this because when I went to Portugal, they had these cork shoes all over the place and I wanted to get a pair for Mark.

Knowing that he has size 13 feet, and having converted that into the European size 47 and found the aforementioned translation, I marched from store to store to store throughout Lisbon, dragging my amused and blessedly tolerant travel companions behind me.

"Qwarente set?" I would ask, pointing at the men’s shoes. In each store, the owner looked baffled and shook his head. "Forty-five?" each would offer, in perfect English. This was, it turns out, the largest size most people carried. Time and again I shook my head and haughtily stalked away.

Finally, after days of searching, we found them, in a tiny little shop in Sintra. “Qwarente set?” I asked. “Quarenta e sete!” responded the shopkeep. She handed them over in exchange for all the money I had left on my person. I hugged them to my chest with glee, and there was much rejoicing.

Once back in the States, I rapidly learned that Mark does not, in fact, have size 13 feet. Indeed, he wears a size 11-11.5—the very shoe size I had so scorned in shop after shop. We gave the shoes to a friend of a friend, and Mark ate all his sardines with great enjoyment.

But at least I’ll never forget how to say 47 in Portuguese.
September 21, 2014

bottles and other hard objects

I discovered this gem while doing research for Spaceotters:

Hemingway Now Writes of Bull-Fighting as an Art
September 25, 1932
By R. L. Duffus


One would say that Mr. Hemingway knows bull-fighting at least as well as the specialized sports writer in our own country knows baseball, football, racing or fighting. He knows it so well that on occasion only the introduction of an extremely singular old lady as the author’s interlocutor, a few digressions on death, modern literature and sex life, joined with Mr. Hemingway’s extremely masculine style of writing, save the reader from drowning in a flood of technicalities.

September 20, 2014

Work emails

It’s been a busy couple of years.
September 19, 2014

dog ownership

Oh, Lexi.

September 18, 2014

Ohhhhh snap!

"…it seems others who’ve raised similar points in the past have received a reception akin to posting ‘sandbeds suck, bare bottom all the way!’ in a forum run by Ron Shimek."

Guys, I’ve been diving deep into the online world of aquarium nerdery. Stay tuned for updates!

(P.S. That’s the first MS Paint drawing I’ve done for fun in… well, ages and ages. Feels good.)
September 17, 2014

Listening to podcasts on the subway

After eating suspect yogurt

“I used to think that I was biased, [believing] that the universe was cool. But no, I’m not biased! The universe is fundamentally cool!”

Who is this fella?

I may throw up on the subway.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, of course it was.

September 16, 2014


Notes from a Small Katie Jane:

"Dear diary, today I got to go to the aquarium."

And another day:

"Today Penny came to babysit me. I liked it. (To my diary)."

25 years later, I found myself at an aquarium with that very same Penny:

I liked it.
September 15, 2014

I get kind of hectic inside

In a probably misguided attempt to make friends at work, I joined a Fantasy Football league.

Shortly before our (delayed) draft, all the Ray Rice awfulness came to light, which prompted Berkowitz to note, “If I ever do fantasy football I’m going to draft a defense attorney in the first round.” I determined that that was not a good solution and my fantasy football team was going to composed entirely of upstanding citizens, gadnammit.

So, as I do when trying to solve all of the world’s ills, I started a spreadsheet. I worked my way down a rankings cheatsheet Mark had sent me, and searched each player’s name plus the word “controversy.” Here’s what I found:

#1 Adrian Peterson against gay marriage
#2  LeSean McCoy awful to women?
#3  Jamaal Charles seems like an ok dude
#4  Matt Forte seems like an ok dude
#5  Marshawn Lynch alleged assault and property damage
#6  Calvin Johnson seems like an ok dude
#7  Eddie Lacy seems like an ok dude
#8  Peyton Manning seems like an ok dude
#9  Arian Foster all of this nonsense
#10  Jimmy Graham seems like an ok dude
#11  Doug Martin seems like an ok dude
#12  Aaron Rodgers seems like an ok dude except for this
#13  DeMarco Murray seems like an ok dude
#14  Le’Veon Bell seems like an ok dude
#15  Demaryius Thomas unclear

That’s as far as I got. Turns out there’s hundreds of people in the NFL, who knew? Mark attempted to help me out by filling in what he knew off the top of his head:

#18  Dez Bryant “some weird thing involving his mother”
#26  Giovani Bernard “drove his girlfriend’s mom’s minivan to camp”
#28  Antonio Brown “does a good touchdown dance”
#43  Roddy White “I like him”
#88  Wes Welker “don’t draft him b/c suspended and also concussions”

And of course:

#52  Ray Rice WE HATE YOU.

And then suddenly the draft started and it turns out you only get a minute or so to pick your choices, and there’s definitely no time to research as you go, and my computer wouldn’t connect, and by the time I’d finished having a freakout and gotten the drafting mechanics figured out I’d already been auto-drafted for my first two picks.

I then reverted to the time-tested method of “pick the guys with the best names” and “take Mark’s advice,” and this (in case it means anything to you) is who I ended up with:

Golden Tate: What a name! And all his controversies seem to be football related.
September 14, 2014

You have my vote, sir.

Preach, preacher!
September 13, 2014

zoom zoom

Seems like a fun job.

September 12, 2014

Poor old thrush

It’s bad enough that its name in other parts of the world is synonymous with both yeast infections and a horrible mouth fungus.

But not only that, I just learned that the Latin for thrush is “Turdus.”

The American Robin has the Latin name Turdus migratorius.

This guy is Turdus obsoletus, aka the Pale-Vented Thrush:

This one, a Tibetan Blackbird, is Turdus maximus:

In fact, all Old World blackbirds are Turduses. Think about that the next time you hear Paul McCartney sweetly crooning to his beleaguered blackbird friend.
September 11, 2014


KJ: Well the freezing temperature is 20 degrees Fahrenheit, right?
Mark: It’s 32.
KJ: Oh.
KJ: Maybe this is why I never wear a warm enough coat.

September 10, 2014

And it was delicious

That closing line!

September 9, 2014

Conversations at work

Portia: And if we were right that the arrow was pointing to the right, then the new arrow was wrong.
KJ: Right.

September 8, 2014

Shorpy knows my soul

From list of subjects in the sidebar:

Or I guess maybe my soul just isn’t all that unique.